The year is quickly drawing to a close, and you know what that means – it’s time to revisit your local SEO strategy and optimize your online presence to keep ranking on the first page of Google in 2020. After all, local SEO is constantly evolving much like the whole of digital marketing, and you need to stay on top of the latest trends (as well as the important predictions), in order to maintain your competitive advantage, safeguard your brand’s reputation, and make people keep coming to your site.
This means that you’ll have to keep Google’s kind of unhealthy relationship with AI-driven solutions in mind – like BERT, for example – and optimize to appeal to its refined algorithm and that you’ll have to make various tweaks to your digital presence in order to increase your brand’s credibility and authority in the eyes of your audience. Okay, so you get that this is important, now let’s jump into the five local SEO strategies you should follow come 2020.
The rise of localized voice search
In recent years, voice search has seen a dramatic rise in popularity, with consumers increasingly using voice search to find local businesses on a daily basis. In 2018, 58% of surveyed consumers said that they use voice search to find local business information, so you can imagine how this positive impact of AI-driven browsing is going to affect consumers in 2020 and beyond. This means that companies looking to rank high in the local SERPs need to optimize their entire digital presence for voice search, and that means optimizing content as well as site features.
It’s important that your content boasts the form and tone of voice that will appeal to the new demographic, meaning that you should write content for Google’s snippet previews in the way that directly addresses the consumer’s question if you want to rank first. So, there’s another content idea for you, instead of just writing articles (but keep doing that), be sure to use common search queries as topic ideas that you can answer in a friendly and familiar voice.
Next, keep in mind that consumers who use voice search on a regular basis aren’t just looking for answers to their questions, they’re also looking to use voice search as a way to sign up for your services, buy your products, or make a reservation or an appointment. If you want to get ahead, make sure your site has the functionalities they’re searching for – Google’s will appreciate this.
Get verified by Google and focus on quality reviews
Speaking of good ol’ Google, probably the first thing you need to do when you build a website and register your business is to sign up for a Google My Business account. This is a pretty straightforward process, but it’s imperative that you do this if you haven’t already in order to boost your ranking in 2020 and help Google prioritize your business in your area over the others. But let’s say all of your GMB information is up to date, what else can you do? You could, and should, focus on getting quality reviews.
While this should be a given, it’s important to keep in mind that the better your products and the higher the quality of your services, the better reviews you’ll get and the better you’ll rank in the local SERPs. Google’s algorithm is very good at prioritizing results based on ratings and reviews, so you need to focus on getting quality 1st party and 3rd party reviews to improve your brand’s authority and relevance.
Optimize your site for mobile browsing
People are increasingly consuming online content on their mobile devices, which should come as no surprise given the fact that we live in an increasingly fast-paced world where everyone is always on the move. This is why Google prioritized businesses that are mobile-friendly, and why it loves companies that leverage AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to make mobile browsing as seamless and responsive as possible. This is especially important for companies operating in highly-competitive regions, such as Australia.
In the Land Down Under, for example, business leaders understand that they have to leverage mobile-friendly design with specialized SEO for Melbourne specifically if they are to rank high for the Melbourne market and that they have to do the same for every individual market to avoid ranking somewhere where they don’t have a physical presence and to stay in front of the local competitors. So be like an Aussie entrepreneur, and combine full mobile optimization with local keywords and features to truly stand out in your town.
Stay on top of the relevant metrics
There are many metrics your SEO experts need to track on a regular basis in order to make the necessary adjustments to your overall strategy, but when it comes to local SEO, there are some specific insights you need to stay on top of in order to improve your ranking. Come 2020, some new metrics will come into play, such as how many people have saved your business as a contact, or how many people search your company’s location on Google Maps. Always keep in mind that Google pulls ranking from all of its apps and features, so you will need to track the performance of each, create actionable reports, and optimize accordingly.
Build location-specific landing pages
And finally, a great way to make Google like you in 2020 is to build your relevance in the local SERPs through location-based landing pages. Got a sweet deal for your customers? Build a dedicated landing page. Got an amazing event planned at one of your venues? You guessed, build an optimized landing page. This is not only the best way to advertise the event, but it’s also a great way to rank your site higher in the relevant search results.
Come 2020, and you will find yourself optimizing your online presence for all of the same trends and metrics that have prevailed over the years. That said, be sure to include these strategies into your plan as well in order to improve your brand’s visibility in the local market, and build customer loyalty and trust.